Henry Lefebvre ( Introduction to Modernity ) vividly captures the modernity of modernity, our continuous quest for novelty:

“Once, in an ahistorical society with virtually no conscious history, nothing began and nothing came to an end. Today everything comes to an end virtually as soon as it begins, and vanishes almost as soon as it appears. But everything repeats itself and starts off again . . . . As interest in it gets progressively weaker, so news becomes more rapid and concentrated, until finally, at the end of a shorter and shorter period, it wears itself out . . . . The all-too-well-known phenomena of saturation, of boredom, of lightning transitions from interest to tedium, produce techniques aimed at overcoming those very reactions: techniques of presentation. Ways are found of varying the ways news is presented . . . . We have the phoney ‘new,’ faked novelty (by dramatizing or dedramatizing, depending on the period and the technicians involved) . . . . The confusion between triviality which no longer appears trivial and sensationalism which is made to appear ordinary is cleverly organized. News shrinks to the size of the socially instantaneous, and the immediate instant tends to disappear in an instant which has already passed.”

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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